The most dangerous of politicians are those who get into the game early in life, with little or no practical or life experience and who decide to make politics their life's calling. These are the politicians who are woefully detached from reality and usually end up with a cavalier attitude when it comes to the public purse.
As a teen and young man Coderre was what we Canadians refer to as a 'keener' joining every club and organization he could get into and participating in all manner of contests. Not only was he a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Optimist Club, he was also president of the Club Richelieu Henri-Bourassa, another fraternal organization in Montreal-Nord. This habit of joining and participating in all manner of social, political and educational organizations has followed him into the mayor's office, but more on that later.
Denis Coderre is a man of dogged determination, he had already lost four times before being elected as federal Liberal MP from Montreal in 1996. Up until then he had been a tireless liberal party hack and hadn't known a life outside politics. His election was the result of his never give-up determination and the fulfillment of his lifelong dream of elected office.
It's just too bad that determination and ego is just about all that that he excels at and as a politician, working on the image and legacy of Denis Coderre is more important to him than the job at hand.
Now one of the prerequisites for a good mayor whether a small town or giant metropolis is the ability to be a solid manager where the mayor's most important civic responsibilities are to provide for public security, public transportation, infrastructure, snow and garbage removal as well as the maintenance of parks and recreation facilitates and this at the most reasonable cost.
Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that Montreal's crooked city administrations actually ran the city better and at a lower cost than the out-of-touch dreamers like Denis Coderre who is the re-incarnation of Jean Drapeau, a mayor that tirelessly worked to make Montreal an international sensation, at a terrible cost to taxpayers.
A testament to Drapeau's ego, the infamous Olympic stadium stands as a sad reminder of what ego and incompetence can accomplish. Unfortunately for us, Coderre is fast erecting his monuments, a reminder to future generations of the sad Montreal tradition of idiot mayors whose motto can best be represented by that famous line supposedly uttered by Marie Antoinette ....."Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"(Let them eat cake) a line forever representative of a politician with zero understanding of what taxpayers need or want.
And so our present mayor is channelling Drapeau, dreaming of making Montreal an international sensation, massaging his own ego along the way, and ultimately sticking taxpayers with a bloated bill for what amounts to nothing tangible.
Now gentle reader, before you object that Coderre was duly elected and thus Montreal deserves what it gets, it is useful to remember that the municipal election that gave us Coderre had a bloated field of largely incompetent, immature and unloved candidates. Coderre was elected with just 32% of votes cast in an election that saw a voter turnout of 43%, meaning that less than 14% of eligible voters opted for him, not exactly a rousing endorsement. It's no wonder that Coderre was booed when presenting a trophy at the World Junior Hockey tournament at the Bell Centre.
Panem et Circenses
When Coderre was first elected, he decided that Montrealers, disillusioned, fatigued and embarrassed by the Charbonneau Commission's revelations of widespread municipal corruption needed a cathartic and restorative ego boost and decided that the best way to accomplish this task was to throw an expensive civic party.
It's like having your parents throw you a party in order to help you forget the pain of flunking your mid-terms.
Does that sound like a plan to you?
And so Coderre decided to treat Montreal's 375th anniversary of its founding as an epic event, planning a year long celebration that will cost upwards of $200 million.
This in a city where potholes, rotten water pipes, aging tunnels, crumbling bridges and overpasses abound.
This nonsense defined as
The 375th anniversary celebration orgy of spending has been well-documented and perhaps those interested in an account of the nebulous and wasteful spending programs can read a well-written story in the Globe & Mail entitled Montreal’s $200M birthday spending spree
Now, of all his foolhardy projects nothing irks me more than the electric car race to be held in the streets of Montreal à la Monte Carlo. Formula E race cars will tool around the streets of Ville-Marie borough for absolutely no good reason with an attached cost to make the streets compatible with the race, almost $17 million and counting. All this despite the fact that the city owns a scant-used world class race track where the Formula One race is held for just a few days each year and where the city is committed to spend $34 million in upgrades.
But the foolish spending spree isn't the only thing that qualifies our mayor as an idiot, although on its own it would certainly meet the threshold.
He is on a Don Quixote like mission to make Montreal great again (sound familiar?)
He has unsuccessfully begged the Pope for a visit to celebrate the 375th birthday party next year and created an Order of Montreal, to celebrate greatness in citizens. He is petitioning Ottawa to make a case at the UN to make Mount Royal a World Heritage site, without considering that even New York's Central Park doesn't qualify.
All of this is more important than enacting a simple city bylaw that would require snow removal dump trucks to install side panels in order to prevent pedestrian accidents that occur regularly during snow clearing operations. On this issue Coderre has decided to wait on Ottawa to create safety norms, he has more important things to do.
And of course our mayor thinks of the city as his own, a firm believer in the politics of France's Louis XVI, who told the royal court "L'etat c'est moi!"(I am the state) Casually referring to Montreal's top cop as "my police chief" Coderre thought nothing of siccing the police onto a reporter who asked an embarrassing question.
Coderre is a populist, a politician that puts his finger up in the air and decides policy based on what will make him more attractive.
He stands for more bike paths, choking an already impossible congested traffic situation and is against any pipeline bringing western crude to Quebec because he is an environmentalist, even though he authorized the dumping of millions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence river.
|Coderre chatting in Iran under the watchful portrait Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamani.|
He is celebrating the announcement of a new non-stop flight to China by taking a round-trip visit just for the heck of it.
But the most stupid of visits was to Teheran where he went as president of some moronic fraternal mayoral organization. Link
Canada doesn't even have diplomatic relations with a country that discriminates openly against women, gays and where dissidents routinely disappear, a country that is the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism.
Spending other people's money comes naturally to this utterly self-important bag of stupidity
I fervently hope for a good old crooked mayor to take over.
Perhaps Michael Applebaum will be out of jail in time to challenge Coderre and set Montreal finances in order, with just a small slice of payola for himself, a fair trade off, all things considered.
It reminds me of the old joke wherein a man said his credit card was stolen but he decided not to
report it because the thief was spending less than his wife did.